Magnificent Munising, MichiganAuthor: sightseeingsue (More Trip Reviews by sightseeingsue)
Date of Trip: March 2006
Munising is nestled on the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is about a 2 ½ hours drive from the Mackinaw Bridge. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the northern U.S., with superb views of the Bay from every glance. It's a small town with a population of only around 2,500, but it boasts a wide array of different activities to keep any vacationer happy.
The Pictured Rocks Natural Shoreline can be found here and stretches out for 42 miles of shoreline ending near Grand Marias. Here you can view beautiful mineral stained cliffs in different formations, lighthouses, and waterfalls in this untouched paradise by boat, car, or by hiking trails. This area is also a wonderful place to go hiking and exploring the many majestic waterfalls they have to offer. Many are only a short walk away, and others are a nice hike in the woods.
The quaint little downtown has several nice and very reasonably priced restaurants. Some that can even be enjoyed while overlooking the bay. There are numerous hotel and resorts for travelers to stop at to rest their heads. If you prefer camping then you will not have to look far, as there is a great camping spot right in town and situated right on the shore of Lake Superior. You will be hard pressed to find another location with as beautiful of a view at any other campground.
If you want to try your luck at gambling, then a short 5-minute drive through the town of Christmas is all you will have to do to find the Kewandin Casino. Though this town has one of the most beautiful beaches only 10 minutes from town (Autrain Beach) it's not too common for people to do much swimming in Lake Superior, as water temperatures usually don't get warmer than 45ºF. There are rivers and streams that people find better suited for swimming in.
If fishing is your thing, then bring your boat or book a charter and be in for one of the best fishing experiences of your life. Whether you choose to fish for steelhead, salmon, or lake trout on the big lake, or you prefer trying your luck in one of the many inland lakes for walleye, bluegill, or bass, you will not be disappointed with your catch. Don't miss an opportunity to visit Munising.
For Fishermen: If you are in town for fishing you may need to purchase a Michigan state fishing license if you don't already have one. License fees vary due to age and length of time required. So, the best way to find out about them is to pick up a free Fishing Guide found on many magazine racks around town. This guide will also list what time of year you are able to catch specific fish. Licenses can be bought at the two area Hardware Stores, Holiday Gas Station, or Hillside Party Store in town.
Pasties: Don't miss an opportunity to try one of Michigan's Upper Peninsula's favorite foods while in town. The pasty is a sort of portable beef stew, folded into a purse of pie dough, and baked to a rich, golden brown -- it is oh-so yummy. A meal in itself. You can find these for sale at either Munising bakery or at several of the areas restaurants around town. A trip to Munising wouldn't be the same without one.
Weather: Without checking the forecast, you will never be able to predict what temperature it will be while visiting Munising. Some times during the summer months the temps will be in the 90ºs, while other times hard pressed to reach 60ºF. One 4th of July, the temperatures started in the high 70ºs, and after a coldfront went by it dropped in to the 40ºs in a matter of minutes. Always pack a lot of clothes. In the winter months, expect lots of snow and to be cold. It didn't get to be one of the Michigan's premier snowmobiling cities for nothing! Some of the hotels in town now offer saunas to get the chill out from your bones.
And my best suggestion is don't forget to bring your camera. This city is beautiful during every season, but especially in the summer months. When in the heart of downtown, Munising Bay will offers you spectacular postcard views from every glance.
Munising is located on Highway 28 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, on the shores of Munising Bay. It's a 2½ hour drive from the Mackinaw Bridge, 6½ hours from Grand Rapids, or 8 hours from Detroit. The best way to get around town depends on the season. Snowmobiles rule the winter months, while cars with four-wheeled-drive are used in the other months.
The roads in town are paved, but you will definitely run across some dirt roads while exploring the area. Some are in good shape while others off the beaten- path are best used for dirt biking. The road crews are used to the heavy snow this town gets, so roads are usually in good driving condition even after a heavy snowstorm. This town is a breeze to get around in, but just remember to keep you eyes on the road when you drive as you may find yourself peeking out off into the bay...it's that beautiful.
Au Train Beach
Au Train Beach is located off of Highway 2 on the shore of Lake Superior. Only 12 miles west of Munising and 9 miles from Christmas, it's a great place to stop at while in the area. The beach is beautiful and the sand so clean and golden in color, it makes this trip worthwhile. You will not find a more beautiful place to spend a day lying on the beach and reading a book, playing a game of volleyball or Frisbee, or building sandcastles on the shore of the river or the lake.
Most people swim in the river, as the lake's water usually doesn't get warm enough for most. Even in the hot summer months, water temps are frequently around 45 to 50 degrees. The beach area is never very crowded, and it's only a short walk from the parking area. This is a great place to spend a day at the beach.
The Buckhorn restaurant/bar is a favorite among the locals and vacationer that come to town. The fresh lake perch is my favorite and is as good as it gets. This place sets deep in the woods between Munising and Wetmore and only a 10-minute drive from Munising. When driving to get here though you may think you are lost in the forest, but continue on into the woods a tad more 'till you finally run across this place. It'll be worth it.
The Buckhorn offers nightly specials and the food tastes very homemade. The menu consists of just about everything; like sandwiches, steaks, pasta, and fresh fish. They offer a small salad bar with a few side salads that add to your meal. The meal and drink prices are astonishingly cheap, with none over $20. There is a bar with a pool table on one side of this joint, and the restaurant on the other side.
They are able to accommodate large groups, as we know this first hand, as we walked in with around 20 of so hungry people one evening. The waitress didn't even get flustered by our mob and did a top-notch job of servicing us. Everyone received a satisfying meal, which ranged from spaghetti, to perch, and burgers. They even had a kiddies menu for the little tykes.
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